Gartner has just released its latest stats around mobile app downloads and is claiming we’ll reach the peak number of downloads per user in 2013. The analyst house suggests that currently iPhone owners download 4.9 apps a month and that it’s 6.2 for Android devices. That number will decline to 3.9 and 5.8 by 2017 as users become more ‘discerning’ when downloading apps.
This shows an interesting change in the growth of the mobile app marketplace. The industry has gone from non-existence five years ago to providing revenues of $18 billion in 2012 and a predicted $26 billion for this year. The biggest app store, Apple App Store only celebrated its five year anniversary this year. The market has exploded.
Gartner’s suggestion that there will be a new attitude to downloading – as consumers become more comfortable with their choice of device and the apps that are out there – shows how users will become rather more sophisticated in their approach to what they keep on their mobile in coming years. There will certainly still be money to make in developing apps over the next five years but quality, reliability and user experience will become more important as the competition rises.
In the comms industry, we are aware of the value of mobile optimisation of web content and having a comprehensive strategy as more and more people consume their information on a mobile device. Many companies are developing their own mobile apps to enhance the user experience and make life easier. For example, our client, Coloplast, recently developed a mobile app for wheelchair users looking to locate a bathroom on the go, Wheel Mate. It took a very common and difficult problem for wheelchair users and found a way to make the situation easier, without the need for anything more than just a smartphone. The response from users has been excellent.
Mobile strategy should always be acknowledged by businesses when reaching out to their customers. This doesn’t have to be in the form of an app but could be as simple as ensuring you can view the website on an iPad, iPhone and an Android device. If app development is being considered, organisations need to ensure they offer the best app, rather than just another ‘ticking a box’ for the different communications channels. The considered consumer will only pick the most useful/entertaining apps with the best user experience when making the choice to download or not. These will be the apps that see a return on investment. Deciding to build a mobile app shouldn’t be a bolt-on to a mobile strategy, but should be carefully considered and developed according to your customers’ needs.